Players who were wasted talents

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I was in the pub the other day and met a lad from Cardiff and we were chatting football. I always remembered a Welsh centre half (Darcy Blake) having Rooney in his pocket at Wembley and wondered what became of him. Turns out he loved the ale (and other extra curricular activities related to that allegedly) and was rarely fit and retired from pro football quite young despite being very talented. I was wondering if there were other cases of forgotten/wasted talents at everyone's clubs.

We famously had Gary Roberts, an England Youth International captain who kept Mark Noble out of the side, but lost all his potential to drink and gambling issues. I believe Gaz was sacked by 4 clubs and almost got sacked by the Vale but jumped before he was pushed IIRC. Now at 32, he's plying his trade for hometown club Chester. But I always think what might've been with him. Was definitely a Championship standard player and probably should've played in the top flight as well.

Another wasted talent was Max Clayton, but for very different reasons. We'll never know the full extent of it, but it was clear Clayton and Steve Davis didn't get on to the point that Clayton was engineering trials in Denmark to leave the club on a free and wouldn't sign a new contract with us. Probably for the best really, we got £300K for him and he kept getting a string of knee injuries at Bolton and Blackpool which have all but curtailed his professional football career at the age of 25 (which is unbelievable when you think of it given how highly rated he was at 17). I always thought his attitude was woeful but I also think if Artell had been his manager all them years ago, maybe he'd have been in the top flight himself by now?
 
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#4
George Green. Dewsbury born lad who was on Bradford City's books from a young boy to teenager.

Labelled the next Gazza when signing for Everton for an initial fee of £300k rising to £2M

He then got into the drugs scene, and liked a drink when out with his mates in Batley. The lad went on to suffer mental health issues.

He once said that he had earned £500k in his short career but only had an ipad to show for it

He eventually settled down with a wife and children, and now plays on loan at Gainsborough from parent club Boston Utd
 

Chris FGR

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#5
Lee Fowler is one that springs to mind, started at Coventry called up by Wales as a teenager, lots of talent should have been playing higher but had alcohol issues, and ended up as a lower league journeyman. Was very good for us for a while but then went off the rails again.
 

Crewelad87

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I was in the pub the other day and met a lad from Cardiff and we were chatting football. I always remembered a Welsh centre half (Darcy Blake) having Rooney in his pocket at Wembley and wondered what became of him. Turns out he loved the ale (and other extra curricular activities related to that allegedly) and was rarely fit and retired from pro football quite young despite being very talented. I was wondering if there were other cases of forgotten/wasted talents at everyone's clubs.

We famously had Gary Roberts, an England Youth International captain who kept Mark Noble out of the side, but lost all his potential to drink and gambling issues. I believe Gaz was sacked by 4 clubs and almost got sacked by the Vale but jumped before he was pushed IIRC. Now at 32, he's plying his trade for hometown club Chester. But I always think what might've been with him. Was definitely a Championship standard player and probably should've played in the top flight as well.

Another wasted talent was Max Clayton, but for very different reasons. We'll never know the full extent of it, but it was clear Clayton and Steve Davis didn't get on to the point that Clayton was engineering trials in Denmark to leave the club on a free and wouldn't sign a new contract with us. Probably for the best really, we got £300K for him and he kept getting a string of knee injuries at Bolton and Blackpool which have all but curtailed his professional football career at the age of 25 (which is unbelievable when you think of it given how highly rated he was at 17). I always thought his attitude was woeful but I also think if Artell had been his manager all them years ago, maybe he'd have been in the top flight himself by now?
Daniel Trickett-Smith is another. Apparently had the potential to be one of the best ever to come through our academy. Liverpool then poached him at 16 and now he's ended up at Vale, and I don't think he's ever played for them.
 

les.gtfc

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In recent years the one that sticks out for me is Scott Neilson. On his day unplayable but too often just seemed to be not interested.

Since leaving us he dropped further and further down the pyramid playing for Whitehawk, then Hemel Hempstead Town and then Royston Town and (according to his wiki page) hasn't had a club since 2017.

He's 32 now but was mid 20's when he played for us and if he'd had the right attitude could have played at a much higher level.
 

Moomin

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#8
Dale Jennings has to be up there. From Tranmere to Bayern and now he’s playing for Runcorn Town.
 

Deepcut Cobbler

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Kevin Thornton - Coventry regular first teamer at 19 as an AM in the Championship having come through their Academy. Then got an ankle injury, enjoyed too much of the partying, left there and joined Coventry Sphinx, Boyne Rovers and Nuneaton Town before we gave him another chance. We could see the talent and ability but he still continued to 'enjoy' the partying.
There followed a string of very non league clubs, last heard of had signed for Racing Club Warwick in the summer of 2019 in the Midland League Premier Division at the age of 33.
 

E10rifle

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#10
Kevin Thornton - Coventry regular first teamer at 19 as an AM in the Championship having come through their Academy. Then got an ankle injury, enjoyed too much of the partying, left there and joined Coventry Sphinx, Boyne Rovers and Nuneaton Town before we gave him another chance. We could see the talent and ability but he still continued to 'enjoy' the partying.
There followed a string of very non league clubs, last heard of had signed for Racing Club Warwick in the summer of 2019 in the Midland League Premier Division at the age of 33.
Might as well add his brother, Sean, to the list. Even more talented than Kevin, and just as big of a waste of space. Currently turning out for his local housing estate’s side in a park in Drogheda.
 

LordJord

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#11
One that jumps to my mind is Ishmael Demontagnac, featured in the premier league for Blackpool but no idea if he still even plays. When he featured for us it was incredibly frustrating to watch, clearly had ability, just seemed like too much of a nutcase to actually try. He was sacked for Walsall for some reason i cant recall.

That being said he did provide me with the most hilarious red card i have ever seen against MK. Got tackled hard and you could see his was rattled, Aidy Boothroyd asked if he was ok, Ish replied he was fine and calm. 20 seconds later he kicked Alli as hard as he could so far away from the ball. Nutcase.
 
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#12
One that jumps to my mind is Ishmael Demontagnac, featured in the premier league for Blackpool but no idea if he still even plays. When he featured for us it was incredibly frustrating to watch, clearly had ability, just seemed like too much of a nutcase to actually try. He was sacked for Walsall for some reason i cant recall.

That being said he did provide me with the most hilarious red card i have ever seen against MK. Got tackled hard and you could see his was rattled, Aidy Boothroyd asked if he was ok, Ish replied he was fine and calm. 20 seconds later he kicked Alli as hard as he could so far away from the ball. Nutcase.
A series of serious breaches of club discipline.

In other words, he’s an headcase.
 

valefan16

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#13
Gary Roberts is the main one; that boy was on a different level but sadly wasted it all, if you read articles from the likes of Pope asking the best players he’s played with he is always mentioned.

If Micky Adams couldn’t tame him no one was going to be able to, we got a good few months of him though. Not sure if he got sacked or not, he turned up drunk to training IIRC was given another chance and did it again.

On a lesser scale Ben Whitfield is one that looked absolutely quality when we had him on loan, his performance against Luton was top drawer but once he signed permanently he never made it to that level again. Never quite know what went on there.

Ricky Miller was another, you don’t score 40 a season if you haven’t got ability but just such a troubled character. Many rumours of things with him and in the end we “mutual terminated” the contract...
 

Camborne Gills

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#15
Luke Rooney looked like a promising player for us when we were in L2. He was then sold to Swindon and seems to have disappeared off the face of the earth (coincidence?).

Did hear he had a BBB problem.
 

The_Boss

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#16
Not one many of you will be familiar with but have to throw Chris Byrne into the hat.

Pretty much single handedly got us promoted back in '97 and Sunderland (then just promoted to the Prem) took him off us as he was on non contract terms. Rumoured that they actually covered the transfer fee we paid for Efe Sodje that summer as goodwill.

Byrne never settled up there and ended up out on loan and ultimately back with us. Through his time in the game he was suspected of harbouring a wanted murder suspect in his hotel room, wanted for stealing plumbing suppliers from a wholesaler in the north west and was shot in his leg whilst sat in his car in Cheadle one night. As soon as it came on the 5 live news that a division two player had been shot I knew straight away it would be him. Always has links to local criminal gangs and to be fair, if you didnt know he was a footballer you would just look at him and think he was a career criminal.

But boy could he play football, remains my favourite Macc player of all time. A ridiculous talent that never even reached a quarter of his potential.
 

Vanni

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Ha Gary Roberts. I recall Stephen Vaughan buying some Maltese club (only after he failed in taking over some local NL club), and he took Roberts with him so that he could help him recover and get back on the straight and narrow. I'm not sure exactly what happened over there but I don't think living on a island where it's always hot did him any good at all. You know, cold beer and sunshine and all that....
 

Vanni

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Brendon Daniels.

Has buckets of ability and is deadly from dead balls but has a shocking attitude
Haven't got a clue who this fella is but according to his wiki page he has never featured in the FL. And probably never will, cos clubs only tolerate a shit attitude and turn a blind eye when the player's got bags of talent.
 

TimeyWimey

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#20
Despite all the hype, I personally never saw enough talent to waste from Max Clayton. At 14 he may have been the bees knees compared to other U-16s but in the men’s game, never saw so much as a glimpse where you thought he’d make it out of the lower leagues.

Not that I didn’t enjoy his last minute goals at Morecambe, Gillingham and Southend. I’ll remain fond of him for those.
 

Richard Cranium

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Ha Gary Roberts. I recall Stephen Vaughan buying some Maltese club (only after he failed in taking over some local NL club), and he took Roberts with him so that he could help him recover and get back on the straight and narrow. I'm not sure exactly what happened over there but I don't think living on a island where it's always hot did him any good at all. You know, cold beer and sunshine and all that....
Sure he was out there sniffing gear with our fans when we first went over for a pre season game. He'd played for us 2 years prior to that.
 

valefan16

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Haven't got a clue who this fella is but according to his wiki page he has never featured in the FL. And probably never will, cos clubs only tolerate a shit attitude and turn a blind eye when the player's got bags of talent.
We had him last year I think, loads of youtube clips of these stunning free kicks when he signed... appeared once in the dead rubber leasing game as a late sub.
 
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#23
In recent years the one that sticks out for me is Scott Neilson. On his day unplayable but too often just seemed to be not interested.

Since leaving us he dropped further and further down the pyramid playing for Whitehawk, then Hemel Hempstead Town and then Royston Town and (according to his wiki page) hasn't had a club since 2017.

He's 32 now but was mid 20's when he played for us and if he'd had the right attitude could have played at a much higher level.
Totally agree with you on this one Les, one of the few town players in recent history who could get you out your seat. Had the skill But maybe not the right attitude!
 

Agombar stool

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#24
Nile Ranger - wannabe gangsta.
Such a strange character. An absolute waster that couldn’t behave off the pitch but on it he was a joy to watch and just never got involved in any nonsense. (didn’t pick up a single yellow at us)

If only he could have got his head right he would have had a seriously good career at Championship level and above.
 

LadyWomble

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#26
Andre Blackman, left wing/back. Yoof at Arsenal, bags of talent though a flawed character/temperament, saw innumerable clubs from Conference to L1/2 and Scots Prem think they could get something from him that everyone else had failed to. Bit like serial marriers/divorcers - a triumph of hope over experience. According to Wiki, now at Ebbsfleet.

Feel sorry for his Mum. Lovely lady who gave him every support and followed him around the country for games. Not in the same league (to my knowledge) as Nile Ranger but sad all the same ... for his Mum if not for him.
 

GTFCfish

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#27
Dom Vose instantly springs to my mind.
Ridiculously talented.
But ridiculously lazy.
Dropped down the leagues since leaving us, with his talent he should be playing at a very high level but thanks to his half arsed attitude he’s done absolutely fuck all.
 

Big Bird

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#28
Such a strange character. An absolute waster that couldn’t behave off the pitch but on it he was a joy to watch and just never got involved in any nonsense. (didn’t pick up a single yellow at us)

If only he could have got his head right he would have had a seriously good career at Championship level and above.
Yeah was strange seeing how disciplined he was on the pitch compared to off it. Clearly has a brain which is good for football and nothing else. Was a complete striker when he played for us.

Hope he doesn't live to regret his off field antics too much. Massive waste of talent and as you say should be playing week in week out in The Championship.
 

Valeite

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#29
Chris Cornes, who we had on loan from Wolves and he started like a house on fire with 4 goals in 3 games before his performances faded and we sent him back. Later that season he was banned after testing +ve for coke. He plied his trade for several years in non league around the Worcester area before he was jailed for supplying cocaine and money laundering. Silly boy.
 

valefan16

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#30
Chris Cornes, who we had on loan from Wolves and he started like a house on fire with 4 goals in 3 games before his performances faded and we sent him back. Later that season he was banned after testing +ve for coke. He plied his trade for several years in non league around the Worcester area before he was jailed for supplying cocaine and money laundering. Silly boy.
Forgot Cornes! He even managed to score a winner for us at Swindon he was that remarkable!

Sure it was Oldham he got a good brace in. Seemed to have a lot of talent but as you say took the wrong path.
 

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